The East Colonnade of the White House is decorated for Christmas.

The East Colonnade of the White House is decorated for Christmas. Alex Brandon / AP

Feds Are Unlikely to Get Christmas Eve Off This Year

Presidents do not typically grant extra vacation time when Christmas falls on a Wednesday.

Federal employees hoping for some extra time off this year around Christmas may be disappointed. With Christmas Eve falling on a Tuesday, President Trump is unlikely to grant bonus vacation time that day. 

Christmas Eve is not a federal holiday, but the president can issue an executive order to give federal workers the day or a half day off if he chooses. 

In 2013, the last time Christmas Eve fell on a Tuesday, President Obama did not opt to give federal employees extra time off. This was “consistent with historical precedent when Christmas has fallen on a Wednesday,” an OPM official told Government Executive, at the time. “The government has remained open on Christmas Eve for six of the last nine times since 1946 that Christmas Day has fallen on a Wednesday.” One exception was in 2002 when President George W. Bush gave employees a half-day.

Last year, President Trump issued an executive order on Dec. 18 to close federal offices on Christmas Eve (a Monday) to give employees a four-day weekend. The partial government shutdown began on Dec. 22, so some employees were already furloughed or working without pay by Christmas. 

The holiday season this year coincides with impeachment hearings and budget negotiations as current funding runs out Dec. 20. Although both parties have expressed they want to avoid a government shutdown like last year’s that left 350,000 federal workers furloughed and 500,000 working without pay, they have not ruled out the possibility entirely.